Debate: Should people with HIV have to disclose their condition to sexual partners?

Since 1998, it’s been a crime to withhold an HIV-positive status from sexual partners. Today, however, the Supreme Court of

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Since 1998, it’s been a crime to withhold an HIV-positive status from sexual partners. Today, however, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that people with low levels of HIV who use condoms don’t need to share their status before sex.

While it may seem shocking given the long-standing stigma of HIV, advances in modern medicine mean the disease is more manageable than ever before.

The development of Truvada, the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, means people with HIV can drastically reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease.

Another recent development, the first over-the-counter HIV test that can be used at home, means it’s easier than ever before to find out if you could be infected, so you can take the necessary steps to treat, and prevent spreading it.

While these advancements make living with HIV more manageable, and decrease the likelihood of infecting sexual partners, do they warrant such a drastic change in the law?

The previous law (which meant a maximum penalty of life in jail) is a far cry from the current one, which makes revealing HIV status optional.

Personally, I believe that laws should evolve with the times. If medical advancements (and condoms) can ensure people are protected, there’s no reason people should have to disclose irrelevant personal information.

What do you think? Should people who are HIV-positive still have to disclose their status to potential sexual partners, even if they have low-levels of HIV and wear a condom? Or does the new law make more sense?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

Related:
11 things every Canadian should know about HIV/AIDS
10 questions to ask your doctor
Secrets to a happy and healthy sex life

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